By: Amy Lutz
When I was younger I was constantly in a fight with at least one of my siblings. When we both got caught in our collective wrongdoing, the first words out of our mouths were “He (or she) did it!” My younger siblings and I were often incapable of taking responsibility for our own actions, but this isn’t unheard of. In fact, the “blaming” phase of childhood is one that we all have experienced. Personal responsibility and acceptance of consequences come later. Children aren’t expected to automatically take personal responsibility; they must learn to accept it. Unfortunately, however, many Americans have never gotten to that step in cognitive development. Many people are still stuck in the “finger-pointing” phase and unable to take any responsibility for their own actions. This case is perhaps most clearly proven within the illegal immigration debate.
Last week, President Obama announced that he intends to propose a regulation (without Congress’s approval, mind you) that would allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States while they apply for legal status. Currently, illegal immigrants are required to leave the country before applying for a green card. Re-entry restrictions often prevent illegal immigrants from returning to the United States for up to ten years. If they can prove that returning to their home nation will “pose hardship for their spouse or parent,” the re-entry restrictions may be waived. However, to request “hardship waivers,” they must still apply outside the United States. Under the President’s current proposal, illegal immigrants would be allowed to request waivers within the United States. According to the LA Times, this is “a step aimed at keeping families intact.”
As usual, the left is portraying the consequences of breaking our nation’s immigration laws as harsh, unfair, and destructive of families. According to such views, regulations such as the one the President just proposed are aimed at protecting the family structure and preventing “unnecessary hardship” for illegal immigrants. I understand the humanitarian aims of this line of thought, but they often neglect a pivotal question: Who is responsible for tearing these families apart in the first place? Leftists often claim that illegal immigrants, through no fault of their own, are subject to family separation and personal hardship because of this nations “unfair” illegal immigration laws. However, deportation, whether it is temporary or indefinite, is the government’s response to law breaking. The illegal immigrants themselves were the ones who broke the law in the first place (hence, the word “illegal”). However, when deportation is an option, they are found pointing their fingers at the government when they really should be pointing at themselves. Women who enter this country illegally and give birth in American hospitals hoping to claim citizenship for the infant know full well that there may be consequences to their actions should they be caught. I hesitate to use the phrase “will be consequences” because of our government’s lax enforcement of our immigration laws, but I digress. Families who must “hide in the shadows” because they are not here legally are in such an unfortunate position because of their own actions, not the government’s actions. Don’t blame the law for the crime. That’s like blaming the speed limit when a cop pulls you over for driving 80 in a 55. It’s just not logical, but considering the decreasing influence of personal responsibility in this nation, it actually makes sense. Shifting accountability to someone or something else is the easy, childish way out, but it’s not the right one. We need to learn to take more accountability for our actions and pay the consequences when they are deserved. In short, some people just need to grow up. Perhaps Albert Einstein put it best when he said, “Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will - his personal responsibility.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.